Tulsa used a 16-7 run in the final three minutes to defeat East Carolina, 79-72, in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Conference USA Championships at the BOK Center Thursday night. After missing a free throw, James Woodard grabbed the offensive rebound and Pat Swilling drained a 3 that sparked a 10-0 run that the Pirates never recovered from.
"They missed two foul shots, we had a chance to secure a loose ball that we have in our hands and they make a 3," ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo said. "That took the juice right out of us and got them on a run in the last two minutes of the game."
Maurice Kemp led a quartet of Pirates in double figures with 24 points. Akeem Richmond added 16 points off the bench, Miguel Paul had 14 and Paris Roberts-Campbell had 12. Kemp also led the Pirates with 11 rebounds.
Scottie Haralson led the Golden Hurricane (17-14) with 22 points. Woodard scored all 17 of his points in the second half. Shaquille Harrison added 12 and D'Andre Wright contributed 10 points. The Pirates fell behind by eight in the opening nine minutes, but persevered and scored nine unanswered points to take its first lead of the game at 15-14. Seven lead changes ensued before Kemp put ECU (18-12) ahead 23-22 with 3:20 to play in the opening half. Richmond followed with a 3, Kemp and Sampson then each scored at the rim as ECU built a five-point halftime lead, 30-25.
Paul started the second half by making one of three 3s on the night to give ECU its largest lead, 33-25. The Pirates maintained the lead until the Scottie Haralson tied the game at 61 with 3:49 to play. Campbell answered on the other end and put ECU back on top with a 3.
The teams exchanged two for one free throws and East Carolina held a two-point lead, 65-63, with 3:05 left. It was the Pirates' final lead of the night.
"It was a tough game," Lebo said. "It was like a road game for us obviously. We had our chances, but give them credit they made the plays down the stretch to get the W (win)."
Tulsa shot 62.1 percent from the field in the second half, making 5-of-8 3-pointers and 13-of-16 (.813) free throws. The Hurricane made 7-of-8 at the charity stripe in the final 1:35.
ECU shot 55.2 percent after halftime, but only got to the free throw line six times in the final 20 minutes. The Pirates made 11-of-26 (.423) from behind the arc on the night with Richmond and Roberts-Campbell making four each.
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